Is Your Sales Team Ready to March into Battle?

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  – Abraham Lincoln

This week we continue looking at ways to prepare for the upcoming holiday selling season. By now your distribution centers are full, your advertising and marketing campaigns finalized, seasonal mailings and web promotions scheduled, and operational checklists reviewed. That’s all great, but what else can you do to make the season a success? Best-in-class retailers do more than just fill their stores with products and design ads, they deliver clearly defined sales strategies to the sales floor. Let’s kick this week’s blog article with a question: What are you doing this holiday selling season to ensure the success of your sales team?

The top three execution points for an optimized selling strategy:

  1. Product Knowledge. This is what differentiates a company and brand. Nothing frustrates customers more than a sales associate who stumbles when explaining the features, benefits and functions of a product, particularly a product featured in an ad. That’s why the proper training of new and seasonal store personnel is so essential. We recommend a daily product training session for each new employee. It doesn’t take much time and it forces them to learn and present products to their peers. Another effective product training aid is including fact sheets as part of your store advertising information packages. For this to succeed, store management must be held accountable, and corporate sales leaders must make this part of their daily inspection of each location.
  2. Sales Training. Your sales team represents your brand and image in the marketplace. Are they trained to greet customers properly? Do they qualify customers to determine needs and wants? Do they establish rapport with customers and family members? Can they explain the advantages of purchasing from your company (your value proposition)? Are they trained to ask for the sale? Are they on the floor and not behind a desk? Do they look professional? Are they equipped with the proper tools (tape measure, notebook, business cards, warranty pricing)? If the answer to any of these questions in no, take the time to make things right. The payoff is huge.
  3. Advertising Awareness. As we said, knowledge of the products in your ads is important, but so is a smart sales strategy that maximizes the profit potential of the advertised items. Step-up selling guides, high margin accessories, selling delivery and installation, and asking the customer who else they are shopping for are proven ways to increase profit margins. This must be repeated for each and every customer and covered by store management in daily sales meetings in order to ensure success.

Preparation, communication, execution, attention to detail. Just like Honest Abe, we all can use some axe sharpening as we march into battle this holiday selling season.

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